June 29, 2022

Deep River Visiting Nurses Service Ends

DEEP RIVER– The Deep River Visiting Nurses service shut down Thursday, six weeks after voters rejected continued town funding in a May 18 referendum.

First Selectman Richard Smith said Friday the nursing service had vacated the space it utilized at the town owned building on High Street and transferred various equipment and boxes of medical records for storage in a secure basement area at town hall. He said the nurses submitted a report showing that eight clients had transferred to the Centerbrook-based Visiting Nurses of the Lower Valley Inc., with 11 clients going to a private home care service. The non-profit Visiting Nurses of the Lower Valley Inc. will be coordinating care for uninsured and underinsured town residents at an annual cost of $25,000.

Smith said the final cost of the nursing service closeout remains uncertain, with efforts continuing to collect about $60,000 in outstanding claims for reimbursements. He said the nursing service was overexpended by about $40,000 in the just ended 2009-2010 fiscal year, with payments to the three laid off full-time nursing service employees expected to total about $40,000, largely in compensation for unused sick days and vacation time.

Smith said the board of selectmen would appoint a volunteer committee to serve as a liaison to the Visting Nurses of the Lower Valley, with three members of the planned committee to be appointed as Deep River representatives of the VNLV board of directors.

One unresolved issue is the future of the nursing service Memorial Fund, which contains about $70,000 in private donations intended to assist needy Deep River residents. Smith said the board of selectmen and Richard Daniels, president of the Deep River Nursing Service board of directors, would appear before local Probate Judge Patricia Damon on July 13 for a hearing on the future of the fund.

Smith said he is hopeful the local hearing would bring a resolution to the issue of the Memorial Fund. “Our goal is to confirm the town has control of the fund and then make sure there are guidelines in place on what it can be used for,” he said. Smith said the fund would be separate from the regular town budget accounts and dedicated to providing special assistance to needy residents.